tv The Communicators Congress Technology CSPAN October 19, 2019 6:28pm-6:57pm EDT
on book tv on c-span2. ♪ >> the house will be in order. >> for 40 years, c-span has been providing america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events from washington, d.c. and around the country so you can make up your own mind. created by cable in 1979, c-span is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. c-span, your unfiltered view of government. >> congresswoman eddie bernice johnson, also the chair of the science technology committee, and a first time guest on the communicators. thank you for being with us. rep. johnson: thank you for
having me. >> before we get into some of the issues, the telecommunication and technical issues your committee deals with, i want to ask about stem education. you come from a science background. science education. what is your committee doing when it comes to stem education educationo you and what do you think congress should be doing? rep. johnson: let me start with the committee. the committee has passed out two major pieces of legislation that was bipartisan and passed on the consent calendar. but it has a long way to go in the senate. it is extraordinarily important that we not only spread the word, but also put in instruments in the education environment to make sure that women and minorities are told about the importance of stem courses. we are seeing it every day because innovation is our future.
if we don't have the people educated and trained, then we see a lack of the brainpower now with affecting the immigration. h1b visas are tapped out. we're seeing fewer and fewer seeing fewer and fewer students coming from india and china, where we have had lots of support in that area. we just saw a recently for example, the nobel laureates. that tells us much of our brainpower has been imported.
we want to be in a position to furnish our own brainpower. the only way to do that is to educate women and minorities in stem fields. we have coined a phrase where no amount of phd's, graduate degrees might be necessary to have those skills. to be a good workforce. producing some of the innovation. >> joining us in the conversation, covering technology for the washington post. >> madam chair, i wanted to follow up on the point you made about stem education and diversity. we have seen companies make promises to diversify their workforces. numbers show things have not changed that much. what do you think companies need to do to address diversity in tech? rep. johnson: we are just releasing the results of our second study.
why more are not going into the fields and remaining. we did find some interesting findings that remain true today. a hostility women sometimes find in a male dominated professions from the past. we have more women now than men. we have more minorities coming in to the forefront. it should be inclusive. we have to make sure there are opportunities for women in childbearing age. like i mentioned earlier, we are broadening education to include what we consider blue-collar.
we are about to lose our edge. we must be forceful making sure there are opportunities and young people are aware of them. we are in the age of innovation. we cannot stay in the world stage without having people in tune with innovation. we have to mold and guide that innovative thinking, creative thinking, and critical thinking.
>> your committee hosted a hearing on artificial intelligence. i wanted to ask you, as it is becoming more prevalent, how do you think the u.s. approach to stem education has to evolve? >> we are just beginning to crack the ice and look into the area. we have looked at research. i do not to us to sit around and think. we have to be ready for that innovation. we have to make sure the workforce is ready. while we are doing focusing on other things, that is our future. that is our workforce future.
him him him >> is it important to the u.s. quote unquote beat china? rep. johnson: it is important we keep pace and sometimes lead. we are not in resting the same amount of time or money to keep pace with them. that is a concern i have. we cannot dream we can keep up with investments. we have to invest in the research and the education. >> i wanted to follow up. last night, automation was a key issue. an entrepreneur has been proposing a universal basic income. what do you think of those proposals? rep. johnson: that is an idea we need to entertain. we are challenged by the future. we are losing ground. we have got to invest in order to have the returns on the investment.
>> i wanted to ask you more broadly, tech issues were coming up more broadly. what do you think of the proposals we have seen from lawmakers to break up big tech? rep. johnson: that is yet to be explored. i will say all the ideas coming forward, we have seen them coming over the years. many of them started with the development of the chip, semi conductor, in the backyard of where i represent. many of the ideas have been put to work there.
texas was one of the first states to do learning with schools because we did not have teachers in the rural areas. as a state with innovation, we are now seeing robots doing room surface at hotels. we started to look at robots handling luggage at the dallas airport. we started with ups delivering from arizona and colorado ups packaging. when we see that happening, without prior preparation, we know there is more to come. we must be ready for it. we ought to be a part of that development. we have to take responsibility. we see autonomous vehicle technology is right around the corner. it is not too soon. four years ago, i talked about doing legislation to start to train truck drivers.
we never were able to get the support to pass the legislation. some of the ideas is this is not going to happen. we see it is. we started this evolution of innovation with technologies, artificial intelligence. we cannot afford that. we have people capable of getting education and training. we have to take responsibility making sure they are trained. we have to make sure we have adequate training areas. we have to make sure we are
encouraging young minds to make better choices. perhaps even making a choice coming to community college for workforce development. we have to do some innovation. to make sure we retain as a part of the cutting edge. we are about to lose that. we can afford to do it. we have to do it. >> you referenced texas instruments and the chip. what about your district today? rep. johnson: my district is pretty high-tech. we are looking to face that. we had a large grant for workforce development a couple of weeks ago. from google. this will continue.
what i am more concerned about is whether we are receptive enough to empathize from the time young people start from school. the critical thinking, more counselors. trying to make sure we are not missing out on talent. >> one of the concerns expressed several years of hearings is congress is not tech savvy. what is your take? rep. johnson: any idea like that, at least part of that is true. we have to be more focused on our future. we can't be more focused than innovation. that is what is driving the world. we have seen the space research. it has brought us lots of food
and lots of services. we have gotten five dollars for every dollar we have invested. we talk about even more research. it is not just the exclusive, high-minded. we have to include all of our minds to meet the challenge. >> you have talked about stem education and efforts to stay focused on innovation. at this politically divided moment, as impeachment heats up, you think there is bipartisan will to pass some of these?
rep. johnson: in the science, space, and technology committee this year, 95% of the legislation coming out of the committee has been very bipartisan. we have focused on that. it should not be partisan. technology is not partisan. it does not see what color, gender, other than inclusiveness. we have a robust committee. bright, new minds. some returning members. we have new energy, new interest. we are covering the areas of interest. i cannot say we are getting the interest we are deserving, but we are getting hard work. >> i know there was a hearing on deepfakes, videos edited with artificial intelligence.
that seemed to be an area with bipartisan concern. as we get closer and closer to the 2020 election, you think the tech companies are doing enough to address disinformation? rep. johnson: that is difficult to tell. we need to be more knowledgeable so we can be involved in knowing what we need to look for. so we can know ourselves when it is off course. it is a challenge. we have not been on this road before. there are other roads that are going to be coming. it has to be bipartisan. the constitution is not partisan. the responsibility to this nation is not partisan.
we have allowed ourselves to fall off into partisanism. we will see that come to an end as we focus on what we need witches innovation. we are not in a fight with each other. we are in competition with the rest of the world. >> there is talk the social media companies, some of these platforms incite partisanship. >> i think that is very true. i think that is because we allow it. i am beginning to see some of those questions and responsibility. >> i wanted to ask you what the tech companies are. we have seen facebook has announced it does not want to
act as a referee. we have seen twitter hold content, not taking it down when it might violate their policies. do you think facebook and twitter should take action when the president uses their platforms? rep. johnson: i do. there is a close edge with freedom of speech. at the same time, i think we ought to have a freedom of responsibility. many of these platforms are very aware. this material is extorted. we accept it.
i am not sure we should. some channels are going to be toward one party or the other. that is one of the reasons we need a lot of young, bright people. who can challenge us as a nation. see whether there is real freedom of speech. >> representative johnson, a poll showed election security is a major concern. >> i lived that. this country, we have always had a question as to whether there is real freedom.
that is critical to a democracy. that is one of the things i feel very strongly about. it is not from anything that has necessarily happened in the past. >> do you feel the country is ready for the 2020 election and security? rep. johnson: i can't say we are that confident. we want everyone to have a fair chance to have their votes counted.
it does test whether or not we are focused on the right interpretation. freedom of speech is one thing. accuracy might have a challenge. >> we wanted to talk about what the executive ranch might have to do. there are things that can be done to raise awareness. do you agree? rep. johnson: the executive branch is there -- you have to start off with a clear platform. it is possible, if we have people in place, looking for a way to get around.
you want to be honest to be honest. >> when it comes to 5g, is this country ready for this new technology? rep. johnson: i am not sure i can answer that a yes or no. i think our readiness will depend on whether or not we have the scale to protect the people. make sure we can be honest and upfront about what we really are dealing with.
i think technology has no boundaries. it is people guiding it who will decide when we get beyond the morality. whether or not we can get out there and stop technology, that is like saying, we need to look at some public responsibility for training the workforce because technology and innovation is going to alter it. the responses, let's stop it. we can't stop it. we have to learn to deal with it. >> when you talk about the checks and balances system, what kind of framework do you see?
rep. johnson: we will have to have in some regulatory framework. what sort of platform we need, i am not in a position to tell you. with good research, we can figure it out. i strongly believe in good, basic research to help us guide our way for the future. >> you focus on innovation. there is a growing pressure on big tech, calls for privacy, content moderation. do worry that could have a negative impact on startups? rep. johnson: i think that is a
part of the environment. i am not sure how much privacy we can depend on in getting it done. i think there should be respect for privacy. at the same time, a majority of the people are participating in many of these technologies that remove privacy. that is a challenge we face. that is one we cannot run away from. we have to be a part of the decision-making. we have to be a part of protecting the public. it has not yet been determined what it is. we have to be researching, have to be a part of it. there are some ways that have been helpful. a good example is having a
system perhaps even in a given area, that will take the medical records. if someone goes to the -- of course that gets into privacy but it gets into an essential part of privacy that saves time, saves lives. there are parameters. we must have people in place to think about us reach the right platform of that parameter. >> there was a lot of discussion about passing a bipartisan bill. what do you think the chances are congress passes privacy legislation before the 2020 election? >> i cannot predict that. i can tell you, i never give up. you have to keep trying. one day it looks like it is impossible and it passes the next day. you never give up if you know what you are doing is right for the people. >> would you own a huawei phone?
rep. johnson: i am not sure but i don't know about the future. i remember when my mother said, i will never use a computer. that didn't last. my mother died 10 years ago and 96. most of the days, there were no computers. now, it is an everyday thing. i cannot tell you what i will and will not do. we can only determine that research and products. >> she chairs the science, space, and technology committee. she has been our guest on "the communicators."
thank you. >> the house will be in order. >> for 40 years, c-span has been providing america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events from washington, d.c., and around the country so you can make up your own mind. created by cable in 1979, c-span is brought to you by your local provider.atellite c-span -- your unfiltered view of government. >> c-span's "washington journal" live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up sunday morning, michael garonne author and
resident fellow at the enterprise institute, talks about his new book, how america's political parties change and how they don't, and law professor and author frank bowman examines the history of impeachment in his book high crimes and misdemeanors. be sure to watch c-span's "washington journal" live at sunday morning. join the discussion. >> now, the supreme court oral argument reviewing the case of lee malvo who was convicted at age 17 for the 2002 deadly sniper shootings in the washington, d.c. region. he received life sentences in both virginia and maryland. since the sentencing, the supreme court issued two rulings prohibiting life sentences without parole for juvenile homicide offenders. mr. malvo's legal team argues he should get a resentencing hearing in virginia. the justices now have through june 2020 to issue a ruling. here's the oral